Three residents came forward, introduced themselves and told their stories of active addiction, loss, law breaking and loneliness that brought them to their knees and in through the doors of Higher Ground. They named the changes that took place for them during their time in residential treatment and are taking place for them and their families and whanau as they continue their recovery journey.
The PM responded by introducing herself with “Hi, my name is Jacinda” and was met with a resounding “Hi Jacinda.” Jacinda thanked the speakers for their generous sharing and spoke of the emotional impact the stories had on her. She acknowledged the power of story and how it connects us. Jacinda spoke of the first time she had heard of Higher Ground when sitting in the back of Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court (AODTC) and hearing the judge mention HG several times.
Now here she was. In addition, the PM said as a result of the Mental Health and Addiction Enquiry the government has made a commitment to bring in accessible services for the people, including their families and whanau. This government recognises the need for treatment facilities to expand the services they provide including supporting both post and pre-treatment.
She named the ultimate hope as being “that we are here earlier to provide support, and people know where to find it”. She finished by speaking directly to the residents and saying, “We did this yesterday because people like you told us their story”.